If You Think Something Is Worth Mastering, Then You've Got To Get Through The Dip

Seth Godin is a well-known entrepreneur and author widely acclaimed for his books on marketing, but he also writes about success. My favourite book by Seth Godin is called The Dip.

The book with less than 100 pages extols the extraordinary benefits of knowing when to quit and  when to stick to something.

He explains that when we are learning a skill or doing something worthwhile, we will be faced with a situation called The Dip where we seemingly get stuck in a rut or simply don't improve anymore.

In the beginning, when you start something, whether learning a new skill, sport, language or vocation, things are fun. You improve quickly and get good feedback from people around you. This goes on for the first few weeks where you continue to be enthusiastic and improve. Then The Dip happens.

According to Seth, The Dip is:
  1. A long slog between starting and mastery.
  2. The difference between the easy beginner's technique and the useful expert approach
  3. The long stretch between beginner's luck and real accomplishment
  4. A set of artificial screens designed to keep people like you out.
This is true in many areas of life. Whether you are mastering a language or sport, obtaining professional qualifications or trying to get ahead in a chosen field, you will face The Dip.

But we must remember that we can't and don't have the time to master everything. The key thing is knowing which activities to quit and which one to stick and slog it out to attain mastery.

The mistake would be to try to work hard initially but not put in enough effort to attain mastery, causing you to quit right at the point where a little bit more effort would have helped you get out of the dip and towards success.

There is a perception that successful people don't quit. Actually they quit a lot. They quit all the things that take away the time from the activity or field that is most important to them.

In short, successful people know what activities to quit to ensure that they stick to the most important endeavour to enable them to become the best or among the best in the world.

The Dip creates scarcity and scarce resources are clearly more valuable.

"The Dip is the secret to your success. The people who set out to make it through the Dip, who invest time and energy and the effort to power through the dip, are the ones who become the best in the world."  - Seth Godin.

  1. You can visit Seth's website http://www.sethgodin.com/sg/ and can find more info about him and the book there.
  2. The graph is excerpted from the book.
  3. A clear, recent example of getting into The Dip and powering out of it is the performance of Aaron Ramsey, who plays football (soccer) for Arsenal FC.


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